The goal of this assignment is to make a C program, a game. Your game should include
everything in the requirements and be written neatly and efficiently! There are no specifics for
how you choose to implement these requirements, though there are also some technical
requirements that follow. This is your chance to wow and impress us, so be creative!
Each of these requirements must be implemented within your game. Therefore, your game must
1. Winning and losing conditions. A player must be able to win and must be able
to lose. The object (or goal) of your game should be easily discernible.
2. Lives. Your game must have an indication of progress (good or bad) to the player. This
field does not need to be text, but it does need to be visible to the player. If you wish to
use text within your game, read through Chapter 19 of tonc and use the files from
3. Button input. When buttons are pressed, the flow of the game should change. You
can use buttons to move characters, create events, speed up time, etc.
4. 2-Dimensional movement. At least one element of your game should be able to
move in a two-dimensional way.
5. Collision detection. Your game must determine if an object collides with
another object. From here, some action may occur.
6. Reset functionality. You must be able to reset your game at any time using
the SELECT button.
7. Start screen and game over screen. You must have a start screen to introduce us
to your game. A game over screen must also appear when the game ends. Feel free to
add other images throughout your game, you are not limited to only two. These screens
must be drawn with DMA.
8. Text. Your game must use text in some form. To write text, you should use the files that
were provided in lecture.
9. Smoothness and no tearing. Your game must play smoothly and contain no
significant tearing. You should use waitForVBlank and DMA to make your game run as
smoothly as possible.
These are the only game requirements that need to be met for this assignment, though you
must still implement DMA and image loading (more on this below). We highly encourage you
to go out of your way and make something amazing! More sophisticated and awesome games
will more likely receive higher scores. This will also be the last GBA homework of the
semester. This is your chance to show us what you can do. So have fun!
If you want to write a game that doesn’t fit the criteria for this assignment but is
TOTALLY AWESOME, email your TA.
If you are running a blank on game ideas, here are a few to help stimulate your brain muscles:
World’s Hardest Game, Lunar Landing, Asteroid, Final Fantasy, Skyrim
You are REQUIRED to put images into your game, meaning that the use of an image package is
required for this assignment. There are several different tools that you can use to achieve this.
Past semesters used BrandonTools (https://github.com/TricksterGuy/brandontools), which is
able to support a variety of formats and modes, but can sometimes be tricky to install. This
semester we are encouraging the use of CS2110ImageTools.jar, which can be found on
T-Square and is easy to use, but which does not support as many features. Yet another option is
to use jGrit, which is both powerful and flexible. Whichever program you choose, you must
draw your images with DMA. Information on BrandonTools (appliccable to other software
packages as well) can be found later in this document.
C coding conventions
1. Do not jam all of your code into one function (i.e. the main function) – you will lose
points if you do so.
2. Split your code into multiple files (have all of your game logic in your main file, library
functions in mylib.c, and other game-specific code in their own files. For example, you
could have breakout specific code in breakout.c)
3. Comment your code, comment what each function does. The better your code is the
better your grade!
GBA Key Map
As a reminder, the GameBoy Advance buttons correspond to the following keys
on the keyboard.
GameBoy | Keyboard
Start | Enter
Select | Backspace
A | Z
B | X
L | A
R | S
Left | Left Arrow
Right | Right Arrow
Up | Up Arrow
Down | Down Arrow
Additionally, holding the space bar will make the game run faster. This might be useful in
testing, however the player should never have to hold down spacebar for the game to run
properly and furthermore there is no space bar on the actual gba.
1. Do not use floats or doubles in your code. Doing so will SLOW your code down
GREATLY. The ARM7 processor the GBA uses does not have a Floating Point Unit
which means floating point operations are SLOW. If you do need such things then you
should look into fixed point math (google search).
2. Only call waitForVBlank once per iteration of your while/game loop
3. Keep your code efficient. If an O(1) solution exists to an algorithm and you are using an
O(n^2) algorithm then thats bad (for larger values of n)! Contrary to this only worry
about efficiency if your game is showing signs of tearing!
If you decide to use BrandonTools (https://github.com/TricksterGuy/brandontools), here is an
outline of how it works. Most of this information is still applicable to other applications.
Should be obvious who this is written by. BrandonTools (for the lack of a better name) handles
pretty much any multimedia format (including pdf, avi, ppt) and exports the file into a format the
gba can read (in the case of such files you will get an array for each page/frame/slide). Also
supports manipulating the images before they are exported.
There is a readme file in the repository that outlines the installation process and how it can be
used to convert images.
Basic usage for mode 3 is:
brandontools mode3 filename imagefilename
brandontools mode3 myimages kirby.png
The output of this program will be a .c file and a .h file. In your game you will #include the
header file. In the header file it contains an extern statement so any file that includes it will be
able to see the declarations given in the .c file brandontools exported. Inside the exported .c file
is an 1D array of colors which you can use to draw to the screen.
For instance take this 4×3 image courtesy of GIMP
When this file is exported here is what the array will look like
const unsigned short example =
//first row red, green, blue, green
0x001f, 0x03e0, 0x7c00, 0x03e0,
//white, red, blue, red
0x7fff,0x001f, 0x7c00, 0x001f,
//white, blue, red, blue
0x7fff, 0x7c00, 0x001f, 0x7c00,
The number of entries in this 1D array is 12 which is 4 times 3. Each row from the image is stored
right after the other. So if you wanted to access coordinate (row = 1, col = 3) then you should get the
value at index 7 from this array which is red.
For image files, you can find sprites online or make them yourself. Here are a few links with
some image files
DMA / drawimage3
In your game you must use DMA to code the function drawImage3.
As you have learned in lecture, DMA stands for Direct Memory Access and may be used to
make your rendering code run much faster.
You can read more about it in the online GBA resource book that we mentioned before – tonc.
http://www.coranac.com/tonc/text/dma.htm (Up until 14.3.2).
As for restrictions on DMA. You must not use DMA to do one pixel copies (Doing this defeats
the purpose of DMA and is slower than just using setPixel!). Solutions that do this will receive
no credit for that function.
The prototype and parameters for drawImage3 are as follows.
A function that will draw an arbitrary sized image
onto the screen (with DMA).
@param r row to draw the image
@param c column to draw the image
@param width width of the image
@param height height of the image
@param image Pointer to the first element of the image.
void drawImage3(int r, int c, int width, int height, const
// @todo implement 🙂
Protip – if your implementation of this function does not use all of the parameters that are passed
in then YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.
Here is a hint for this function. You should know that DMA acts as a for loop, but it is done in
hardware. You should draw each row of the image and let DMA handle drawing a row of the
Lastly note that we don’t care if the background of your image is being drawn. If you want a
transparent background for your image then you will need to resort to using sprites. Of course,
this is way beyond the Call of Duty for this assignment so if you get this working then more
power to you http://www.coranac.com/tonc/text/regobj.htm
You must include a readme.txt file with your submission. This file needs to outline the controls
of your game. It also needs to explain what the goal of the game is, and how it can be reached.
Let us know how a player can win or lose the game.
Remember that you are more than welcome to work with other students as you have been on past
assignments; however, you are not allowed to copy code among each other. Please keep discussion to
high level details. All code you write must be coded by you. You are free to help other students with
problems with their code; however you aren’t allowed to take someone else’s code (via the Internet,
previous semester, current semester) and submit it as your own.
We will be employing use of code analysis tools to catch people who violate these rules and if you are
caught you will receive a zero.
See Academic Misconduct in the rules section at the top of this assignment.
This assignment will be due at the date specified. It will not be demoed.
Make sure to submit the following:
1) .zip ALL files required to compile and run your game with the command “make vba”
Be sure to include the Makefile as well. Download your submitted code to check that it compiles.
If your code does not compile, we will not be able to grade it, and you will receive a zero.
Please double check your work.
2) Be sure to include the readme.txt file. It should outline what buttons do what, and what the goal of the
game is. State clearly how one can win and lose the game.